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'Battlestar Galactica' is back, with many twists

Ellen Gray
Philadelphia Daily News (MCT)

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

10 p.m. EDT Friday

Sci Fi

The best science fiction, like the best fiction generally, focuses on what makes us human.

Even when it requires non-humans to show the way.

Sci Fi's "Battlestar Galactica," which launches Season 4 Friday with an episode about which I'm not supposed to tell you much of anything, is no exception.

But if you hung in there for Season 3's surprising finale, you already know that Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) is back (and not just from the disappointments of "Bionic Woman"), and that four more members of the Galactica crew have discovered that they aren't human, after all, but members of the manufactured race known as Cylons.

Or that's what you think you know, anyway.

For those in conspiracy withdrawal since "Lost" went on break last month, the return of "Galactica" represents a renewed opportunity to twist our brains into pretzels trying to figure out who's who and what's what.

But where "Lost" might have you wishing you'd paid more attention in physics class, here it's a copy of the New Testament you'll maybe want to have handy.

"What should I believe? Should I believe my heart? Or my eyes?" asks Adm. William Adama (Edward James Olmos) as he tries to figure out if the reappearance of Capt. Kara "Starbuck" Thrace is a miracle or a Cylon trick.

It might be possible to overlook the religious undercurrent contained in scenes in which an apparent resurrection is greeted with doubt, but then there's Baltar (James Callis), whose narrow escape from execution has somehow made him the adored object of a cult conveniently located aboard ship.

To be honest, I'm weary of Baltar and his endless visions/hallucinations, as I am of the fleet's wandering as the surviving colonists try, somewhat fitfully, to find their way back to a home planet none of them remembers.

This, they tell us, is the final season.

So this is it: Earth or bust.

___

I'm not a big fan of crime shows, much less shows about the people who crawl inside the minds of serial killers - let's just say it's way too dark in there - but just as I make an exception for Showtime's "Dexter," I've long made one for the British series "Wire in the Blood."

When I get the opportunity, that is. Between the vagaries of British television production and American cable schedules, I'm often as confused as anyone about when, where - or if - the series will pop up.

But it appears Season 5 has made it across the pond, and so has Dr. Tony Hill (Robson Green), who turns up in Texas, of all places, in Sunday's premiere, "Prayer of the Bone" (8 p.m. EDT, BBC America).

Based on characters created by Val McDermid, "Wire," routinely enough, is about a clinical psychologist who assists the police in solving crimes in the fictional northern England town of Bradfield.

But Hill, as played by Green, isn't the least bit routine. And while his quirks are fully on display in the Texas episode, which was filmed there (and tells you a lot about what the British think of our justice system and about Texas' take on it in particular), it's probably not the best introduction to the series.

Hill, a fish out of water at the best of times, is so far out of his element in Texas it's a little distracting.

Fortunately, the following week finds him back on native soil, trying to find a missing girl before it's too late.


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